Readers of Diamond Lust expressed the desire to know more about its heroine, Petra Paris. After Petra’s adventure at Ptarmigan Mine, she accepted a short term contract to work out of a field camp in the Mackenzie Mountains west of Yellowknife. Petra made herself available for this interview via satellite phone.
Why did you decide to become an exploration geologist?
Petra: I grew up in the Colorado Rocky Mountains. When I was a kid my parents took me to visit ghost towns from the Gold Rush days and we panned for gold in cold mountain streams. I also loved those dusty old westerns with prospectors who spend their lives searching for gold. I guess you could say I caught gold fever. But by the time I graduated with a geology degree, diamonds were the “new gold”, and the far north was the go-to place for prospecting.
What are you searching for right now?
Petra: There are rumours that a geologist from a rival company has stumbled across a promising emerald deposit. My team is checking it out.
What is the worst aspect of working in the far north?
Petra: The black flies. They’re miniature vampires. Their bites hurt.
What is the best aspect?
Petra: The beauty of the landscape. In the early fall the tundra vegetation transforms into a tapestry of muted greens, golds and soft reds interspersed with the stark blue of innumerable tiny lakes. When you’re flying above that stunning carpet and then spot a herd of caribou or some musk ox… well, the sight fills the soul.
Also, there is no other place on the continent where you can be dropped off by helicopter for days or weeks and be literally hundreds of miles from the nearest human being. For some people that might seem like the worst part of working up here, but the isolation has strengthened my connection to Mother Earth. I feel at home in the subarctic in a way that I don’t in the city.
You encountered many dangers during your stay at Ptarmigan Mine. What was your greatest fear?
Petra: Hmmm… (Long pause). Actually, nothing that happened then scares me as much as a new fear.
Petra: Becoming a mom. I am so independent and an only child. I’m terrified that I won’t adjust to being responsible for a little one.
Is there something you’re not telling us?
Petra: (Laughs) Next question.
What are you reading?
Petra: I enjoy Sarah Andrews’ mystery series about the investigations of a female forensic geologist. Beside my camp cot is the tenth in the series, Dead Dry.
Thank you for your time, Petra. Good luck with your emerald hunt.
Petra: Thanks. It’s always a pleasure talking with you. Bye now. (Click)